Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bathroom Gets Fancy Pants

May 2013

While we were working on the backyard we had a few days of rain that made me take one last look at our bathroom.  The space was missing many of the finishing touchs that would make it feel more like a bathroom we would have designed.

Disco bathroom gets updates
The first step was the decision to paint the sink cabinet.  I am pro wood. I would never paint wood unless I absolutely had too.  This one was a long internal debate.  Two things finally turned the tide. The current cabinet was starting to get water damage from all the bathroom steam. I believed painting it will help seal the wood and avoid further damage.  Also, the cabinet was Maple which is fine but really not in keeping with anything in the house or even the feel of the house.  Before I could change my mind I sanded the cabinet on a Friday and primed it.  Three coats of semi-gloss white paint and it was looking much more smart. At Lowes I bought two black knobs to tie into the black countertop. Mini-Project Complete!

Many people have asked about the small sign on the tile.  It reads 'Please!  Mind the faucet water is hot and flows like crazy!  Thanks the Mangement.'  Don't all of you wish you lived in an old house that requires disclaimers?
The next step was what to do about a hamper.  We had been using a rolling metal basket that was mine from college.  It worked great, but the round shape meant we hit it alot and banged up the wall.  We had many requirements for a new hamper.  It must be narrow (no wider than 14")  it must have a cover on it (no one wants to see your dirty underwear), and it had to match the style of the bathroom.  This is actually a tough nut.  There are not many hampers that are that narrow or attractive or have covers.

I love this John Muir quote and sign
We finally found a small tilt-out unit from Home Decorators that was about the size we wanted and had the bonus of being a small cabinet that would allow us to store stuff on top. It was expensive and on principle alone I would never spend 100 bucks on a hamper.  I searched the internet and got several coupons and decided to bite the bullet.  There were two things wrong with the hamper. First, it is a little more ornate then we wanted (it has silly little feet and this curved trim moulding), second, it was cream not white. But since it fit so well we decided to overlook it's fancy pants and took the plunge.  And, for the second time, I was sanding, priming and painting a cabinet for our bathroom.

             Mr. Whale looks really high in this photo, probably because I am sitting down. 
Once these changes were made, all we had to do was update the accessories.  After searching all over the internet it turns out I like products from Target best. I bought some Nate Berkus towels and a floor mat. I decided to go with a gold color to compliment the gray wall color.  I also picked up a blue glass toothbrush cup and soap dispenser.  The last addition was a new metal sign with a John Muir quote in gold.  The room is finally starting to feel a lot more our style.

This really gives you an idea of how small the space truly is.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Side Yard Waste Land

April 2013
 Side Yard April 2011

After finishing the fire pit we had about 2.5 seconds of celebration.  Then we turned around and looked at the South side of our house.   When we moved in, this area was covered in blackberries and was completely overgrown.  In 2011, I cut all of it out so that we could paint the house.   I then put down cardboard until we could decide what to do.  Well, we decided to store left over building materials there.  Then slowly over two short years the blackberries came back.  

  Side Yard 2013- Cringe

Starting at the corner I cut back all the blackberries.  It took about 4 yard debris bins to get it all and it seemed like I would never make it to our front yard. As I cut back the blackberries I was forced to deal with all our debris. We 'free' craigslisted the old wheelbarrow and the fence gate (scrappers delight).  We recycled the plastic garden pots, dumpstered our broken concrete, and neatly stacked the tens of pavers, bricks and rocks we found back there. Once we had a bare slate, I turned up the ground and tried remove ALL of the blackberry roots to avoid the same problem again.

Random pile of dirt from old owners, huge pile of pea gravel from us
Once again, this was backbreaking and I have no pictures of doing this work. We filled a whole wheelbarrow with all the roots we found under there.  I rotilled the space and Josh got to work fixing the grade. We needed to be very careful making sure we had a steady sloop away from the house, we also needed to meet the existing height of our neighbors side yard in a 10' wide area.   Josh's solution was to create a curvy dry creek bed feel that would be our pathway.  I loved it!

The sun is killing me here 

Using the fill from our random dirt pile we created mounded beds on either side and kept a free flowing feel to counteract our more ridgid lines over by the firepit. 

This is what is left of the forsythia and two limelight hydrangeas

Next, we put down landscape fabric for the pathway and then installed more boulders and river rocks to form the edge.  Using the remaining pea gravel we had left we filled in the pathway.   All we had left was to find plants that would be happy on the South side of the house.  We also had to find plants that will be happy in the constant shade along the fence line.  We started with a Lilac since these like sun, smell delicious and never get too big.

Lilac is on the left between the living room and bedroom windows

If you have been following- this is the third tarp in this post.  We were cleaning them throughout the project, which really made for some horrible pictures. Boo to the large cinderblock wall.

Fast forward to June when I took these, you can see the pathway.  I also added lavendar, little lamb hydrangeas and some sunflowers.  I am still looking for more plants for the fence line.  Also, please note the amazing moment the pathway ends into our stone fence.  Gate and new fence TBD.